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Advice for parent of a young level 8

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mylittlemiss

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Aug 28, 2012
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Hello and greetings to all! My daughter will be competing level 8 this upcoming season. She just turned 10 this summer. She's moved at a somewhat quick pace through the levels, but it's been something we've been comfortable with, while she's reamined happy. Last year she did level 7 as a 9 year old. The year before she was an 8 year old level 6, optional. Wow, those young optionals are some good competition! She did well at level 7, but not super well. This year she's made a lot of progress and coaches feel she will be a strong level 8. Again, we know she will be in that younger age group of higher level gymnasts. My question is how to help her manage a season of school, competitions and the expectations that come from being a higher level, but so young. She is about to enter 5th grade. She loves gym, had a great summer training, but now it's back to a stiff routine of school and practice schedules. It just seems like level 8 is a big jump in skills and mental toughness along with those skills. So far she's taken it in stride, but at 10, those emotionas start ramping up! She's the youngest of our 5 kids and we have older daughters, but none who've had to manage anything like this at such a young age. Some advice from those who've dealt with similar would be much appreciated!
 

auswi

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Sep 27, 2014
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Pretty much we take one day at a time, help keep things in perspective & lots of hot chocolate helps every situation☺

The most importent thing Ive found is to keep home the safe landing place from school & gym- our hugely importent role is to be just that - somewhere safe, relaxing, & with minimal stress :)

Enjoy the journey☺
 

mylittlemiss

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Aug 28, 2012
131
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USA
Pretty much we take one day at a time, help keep things in perspective & lots of hot chocolate helps every situation☺

The most importent thing Ive found is to keep home the safe landing place from school & gym- our hugely importent role is to be just that - somewhere safe, relaxing, & with minimal stress :)

Enjoy the journey☺
Thanks so much for the advice! We will continue to try to keep home/gym separate. Good reminder to be focused on that. Part of my concern this year is that she may worry more about the meets/practice than in the past and gym will be more of a focus than it already has been. You know these girls are such perfectionists! Lots to think about and balance for such little ones!
 

auswi

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Sep 27, 2014
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We've done a heap of work with Dd around comps ( Aussi meets LOL) - emphasizing they are only a moment in time - they dont define you as a gymnast; comp goal setting - not podium based, and treating each comp as a "practise "- doing the best routine just like at practise.☺
 

cbifoja

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Oct 9, 2012
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Mine is about a year older than yours but some struggles we've faced....

- learning to find time during school, commute, break to get homework finished
-having teammates who are much older and often being excluded from get togethers
-keeping weight on with so many hours of training
-not wanting to do coach-assigned flexibility at home because she's at gym so much
-missing school so much during winter term means increased homework
-fears starting to creep in for the first time
-growth spurts interfering with previously solid skills
 

ascarter1

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Apr 25, 2013
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Mine is about a year older than yours but some struggles we've faced....

- learning to find time during school, commute, break to get homework finished
-having teammates who are much older and often being excluded from get togethers
-keeping weight on with so many hours of training
-not wanting to do coach-assigned flexibility at home because she's at gym so much
-missing school so much during winter term means increased homework
-fears starting to creep in for the first time
-growth spurts interfering with previously solid skills
My dd isn't as young as op's but the struggle is real. She is 11 level 7. First year of middle school. We are enjoying one last year of only practicing 4 days/16 hours bc next season it will be 5 days/20 hours.

Luckily, my dd gets out of school 1 hr 45 minutes before practice starts so that gives her time to work on homework. And she has a study hall so that helps.

My dd also struggles to keep weight on. She looks normal with her gym friends but out of place with her school friends.

We are also lucky that most of the girls in her level are about the same age.

Dd grew 3 inches within the last 12 months and that totally throws off everything!

I guess we all just learn to deal, hopefully! Good luck to all! It's tough!
 
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littlegirlsdream

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Aug 28, 2009
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I am not sure you can anticipate the struggles. Each kid, no matter the age, hits issues. We have found you just have to deal with them when they arrise. Certainly home and gym separation is imperative. Sleep is also a huge factor for DD so we make that a priority and when she became too overwhelmed, we talked with her coach and eased some of the pressure off at gym. It has only really happened once for us so far. I think you just have to take it day by day.
 

munchkin3

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Jun 6, 2008
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Be easy going. Try and be flexible with her, and help her manage the day to day stresses as they come. Show her that adapting to the day to day is easy, and no big deal.....Remember that a day off for getting homework done, and sleeping early goes a LONG way, and will not impact her gymnastics in the long run. On non gym days let her be as normal as possible like the other kids who don't do gymnastics....

Our job is to make sure they are well fed, well rested, and as happy as possible.
 

mylittlemiss

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Aug 28, 2012
131
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USA
Mine is about a year older than yours but some struggles we've faced....

- learning to find time during school, commute, break to get homework finished
-having teammates who are much older and often being excluded from get togethers
-keeping weight on with so many hours of training
-not wanting to do coach-assigned flexibility at home because she's at gym so much
-missing school so much during winter term means increased homework
-fears starting to creep in for the first time
-growth spurts interfering with previously solid skills
Thanks for the thoughtful advice!!

Last year was when we noticed fears creeping in that had never been an issue before. It was mainly on bars. She's made progress but it can still be a sticking point. It's intersting to see an otherwise fearless gymnast suddenly balk when they hadn't before.

Also, her feet grew this summer, 1.5 sizes! Not sure how much height, but those feet! Lol. She was having some issues late summer with her beam series(staying on the beam), right around the time we noticed how much her feet had grown. I pointed out that perhaps her growing feet may be a contributing factor. She didn't think so, so I've not said much else about it.

Yes, missing school during winter months with traveling can be tough. I'm sure she will have more homework this year as a 5th grader.
 

wallflower

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May 16, 2012
2,362
CA
I'm not really sure age is a factor. It seems if anything that the older girls that are hitting middle school are the ones that have the most to deal with. They are growing, new social pressures.

I think a 10 year old level 8 would have it the easiest. At least that has been my experience. My DD was 8 and turned 9 when she was level 8 and we didn't find it any different that any level. It can vary depending on where you live, but we have a ton of kids that are 9-10 in level 8 here. It was the largest age group at state. So not very unusual, at least where we are from.

I wouldn't anticipate there will be any problem because you might create one while looking for one. Stress her out about the situation. She is doing gymnastics. She has moved up a level like everyone typically does. What is there to be concerned about?
 

lhmom

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Jul 22, 2010
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My DD will also be competing level 8 and just started 6th grade. I would suggest being proactive in working with her teachers when the meet season starts, especially if you have meets that will require long distance travel. With DD, I spoke with the dean of students and her advisor in the 1st week of school to discuss what we can do to keep her on track during competition season (she just started a academically tough middle school). We have also discussed with DD the importance of getting as much work as possible done at school (and on weekends) in order to keep late nights to a minimum during the week. I don't know about anyone else but it seems like this is also the time where you see growth related injuries begin to occur. We have seen this with DD- she dealt with Severs off and on last season and recently experienced stress reaction in both wrists (growth plate) which has had her sidelined for 6 weeks. That can be tough for a kid especially if they hadn't had problems before. But I think as long as emphasis is not placed on placements but on progress, your girl will adjust well. Good luck to her!
 

kris

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Jul 25, 2013
204
My DD was a slightly older level 8 last year, though always in the youngest age group still. I agree with the others. Help her learn good time management skills, make sure she gets enough sleep and good, nutritious food. Don't be tempted to coach at home. As that youngest age group can be tough for placing, I encouraged her make goals that weren't score related, so she enjoyed when she did place, but didn't let things get her too down when she didnt place. Hope it's a great year for her!
 
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mylittlemiss

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Aug 28, 2012
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I'm not really sure age is a factor. It seems if anything that the older girls that are hitting middle school are the ones that have the most to deal with. They are growing, new social pressures.

I think a 10 year old level 8 would have it the easiest. At least that has been my experience. My DD was 8 and turned 9 when she was level 8 and we didn't find it any different that any level. It can vary depending on where you live, but we have a ton of kids that are 9-10 in level 8 here. It was the largest age group at state. So not very unusual, at least where we are from.

I wouldn't anticipate there will be any problem because you might create one while looking for one. Stress her out about the situation. She is doing gymnastics. She has moved up a level like everyone typically does. What is there to be concerned about?
It's good to know that your daughter had a smooth transition as a young level 8! My concern is being 10 and the many changes that start compounding on their little minds and bodies. We really try extremely hard to be low key about gymnastics at home. Hopefully doing the same will prove to be helpful. Thanks for your point of view!
 

mylittlemiss

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Aug 28, 2012
131
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USA
My DD will also be competing level 8 and just started 6th grade. I would suggest being proactive in working with her teachers when the meet season starts, especially if you have meets that will require long distance travel. With DD, I spoke with the dean of students and her advisor in the 1st week of school to discuss what we can do to keep her on track during competition season (she just started a academically tough middle school). We have also discussed with DD the importance of getting as much work as possible done at school (and on weekends) in order to keep late nights to a minimum during the week. I don't know about anyone else but it seems like this is also the time where you see growth related injuries begin to occur. We have seen this with DD- she dealt with Severs off and on last season and recently experienced stress reaction in both wrists (growth plate) which has had her sidelined for 6 weeks. That can be tough for a kid especially if they hadn't had problems before. But I think as long as emphasis is not placed on placements but on progress, your girl will adjust well. Good luck to her!
Poor girl with the growth side affects! My dd has been super healthy injury wise and we do count that as a huge blessing!! I also met her teachers and mentioned about her schedule and traveling for meets. They both seemed supportive so let's hope for a smooth transition! Best wishes to your daughter in 6th grade!
 

mylittlemiss

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Aug 28, 2012
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My DD was a slightly older level 8 last year, though always in the youngest age group still. I agree with the others. Help her learn good time management skills, make sure she gets enough sleep and good, nutritious food. Don't be tempted to coach at home. As that youngest age group can be tough for placing, I encouraged her make goals that weren't score related, so she enjoyed when she did place, but didn't let things get her too down when she didnt place. Hope it's a great year for her!
Thanks for the advice. Last year she was somewhat focused on an AA score to reach at her meets. It's a good reminder to have other goals as well, not always tied to a score. It can sure help with their mental state!
 

mylittlemiss

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Aug 28, 2012
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My dd isn't as young as op's but the struggle is real. She is 11 level 7. First year of middle school. We are enjoying one last year of only practicing 4 days/16 hours bc next season it will be 5 days/20 hours.

Luckily, my dd gets out of school 1 hr 45 minutes before practice starts so that gives her time to work on homework. And she has a study hall so that helps.

My dd also struggles to keep weight on. She looks normal with her gym friends but out of place with her school friends.

We are also lucky that most of the girls in her level are about the same age.

Dd grew 3 inches within the last 12 months and that totally throws off everything!

I guess we all just learn to deal, hopefully! Good luck to all! It's tough!
It's super helpful that your daughter now has an earlier dismissal time. Mine won't have that till 7th grade. However, it's nice that she starts later, so some days she will finish homework in the morning if that night before was getting too late or after an extra tiring day.

Best wishes!!
 
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mylittlemiss

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Aug 28, 2012
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Be easy going. Try and be flexible with her, and help her manage the day to day stresses as they come. Show her that adapting to the day to day is easy, and no big deal.....Remember that a day off for getting homework done, and sleeping early goes a LONG way, and will not impact her gymnastics in the long run. On non gym days let her be as normal as possible like the other kids who don't do gymnastics....

Our job is to make sure they are well fed, well rested, and as happy as possible.
Thanks for your input! Boy, our gymmie is a late to bed kind of kid! Always has been. She is rarely asleep before 10:00, year round! Drives me somewhat crazy, lol. I try to count it as a blessing but theres some days she just needs more sleep! Especially during meet season.
 

GYM0M

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Jul 23, 2013
1,271
We take everything one day, one practice, one assignment, one meet, one goal, one skill, one INCH (literally) at a time. I try to be organized, but too often I micromanage and that has proven to be counterproductive, lol! Dd, 9, not sure how to properly classify her 'level' though. She home schools so we are not faced with any time issues, but she's still just a kid and has some mood changes when she's tired or hungry! I swear, she could do a snickers commercial. Like I sd, just one step at a time.
 

mylittlemiss

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Aug 28, 2012
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We take everything one day, one practice, one assignment, one meet, one goal, one skill, one INCH (literally) at a time. I try to be organized, but too often I micromanage and that has proven to be counterproductive, lol! Dd, 9, not sure how to properly classify her 'level' though. She home schools so we are not faced with any time issues, but she's still just a kid and has some mood changes when she's tired or hungry! I swear, she could do a snickers commercial. Like I sd, just one step at a time.
One day at a time, great mantra! Lol about the snickers commercial!!
 

Iwannabemargo

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oooh, who does your snickers commercial ? Joan Collins does ours, and I must say I have seen that scenario more than once.
 
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